My Garden Journal 2018 – June

I finished my latest entries into my garden journal just as we reach the mid-point of the year. June has once again been a month of mixed up weather and the garden plants have continued in their state of confusion.

My first words for June were positive words about the weather, a rare occurence to use such words this year. “The first week in June treated us to warm bright weather but thunderstorms, really wild powerful ones, broke the spell several times. Humidity was so high that it sapped our energy and made our joints ache.

Through all this the garden looked wonderful and full of atmosphere, with bees, hoverflies and day-flying moths adding sound and movement. The borders have filled out with fresh lush growth.”

I used six photos to illustrate this lushness.

   

On the opposite page I continued in the same vein using my quote this month from Dan Pearson, “My quote this month from Dan Pearson’s “Natural Selection” concerns greens and promises of the June garden. 

“The June garden is still full of promise and greens remain fresh and foliage pristine. There is a quiet rush to the longest day of the year with everything reaching towards this moment. The roses are never better than with the first flowers out and the promise of buds to come.”

I followed on with another six photos.

   

Turning to the next double page spread I considered our roses and add a few more words from Dan Pearson.

“Dan Pearson later singles out one Rose, “Bengal Beauty”,  for comment. This is a rose we grow and love it for its buds and unusual flower shape.”

Pearson wrote, “I have also set aside room for “Bengal Crimson” (or “Bengal Rose” or “Bengal Beauty”, depending where you read about it). I was first smitten when I saw it at the Chelsea Physic Garden years ago, but forgot all about it.” He recalls how he was gifted a specimen as a present for opening their summer fair.”

 

 

“Dan Pearson describes Bengal Beauty as “a delightful, informal bush and all the names describe it well – its single cherry-red flowers splayed wide and recoiled on themselves as if they were stretching are like sweet wrappers scattered over the bush.”

I then included photos of Rosa rugosa and Rosa “Summer Wine” in flower and in bud.

  

“Rosa rugosa”

 

“Rosa Summer Wine”

Over onto the next two ages I looked at Thalictrum, Centaurea and Gypsy Dianthus.

I wrote, “Thalictrum in all their guises are a real favourite of Jude, who has now brought together a good collection. The varieties include Thalictrum delavayi, T. Black Stocking, T. Elin, T. Rochebruneanum, T. Hewitt’s Double and T. flavum glaucum.”

    

“This Thalictrum has grown so tall it passes the apex of our greenhouse!”

 

“Centaurea put on a fine display throughout June, but do tend to flop if we forget to give them support”

 

“This biennial Dianthus has been with us for a decade or so now, but still performs reliably and beautifully.”

 

My next double page spread considers the colour orange in the garden and complimenting it with purple.

“Blazing orange for a blazing June. The sun lights up oranges as if they are on fire!”

“The zinc bath planted hot!”

  

“Geum Totally Tangerine and G. Koi

 

“Euphorbia griffithii “Dixter”

 

“Rosa Warm Welcome”

“My favourite colour to compliment orange in the garden is purple. Each colour intensifies the other in this strong partnership.”

     

To finish off my June entries I shared some of our cameos and combinations to be found in our garden during the month, and on the opposite page I had a quick look at “pin cushion” plants.

First here are my photos of “Cameos and combinations of the June garden.”

   

“Some flowers in the June garden remind me of pin-cushions especially Astrantias and Knautia macedonica. Each flowerhead is a tight circle with fine stamens, the pins.”

     

June this year ended with a fortnight of high temperatures and beautiful blue skies, two weeks of the beginning of a heat wave. Next time we return for a look at my 2018 Garden Journal we will be into the second half of the year. Things may have changed a lot in the garden by then. Perhaps we might even get a splash or two of rain!

 

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Snowdrops and Creative Pruning – Ivy Croft Garden

I often publish posts about summer days out in winter to help us warm up so as we are in the middle of an exceptionally hot period of weather I shall do the opposite and publish this post I wrote in the winter in the hope it may cool us down!

There were two main reasons we wanted to visit Ivy Croft Garden and Nursery to look at, firstly their huge collection of snowdrops and secondly their imaginative pruning techniques. Both these elements are highlights of the February garden. We drove down to Herefordshire with gardening friends Pete and Sherlie who had never visited the garden before. We had been once before several years ago, when it was still quite early on in the development stage. We were looking forward to seeing what it was like after so many years.

The garden which was started in 1997, surrounds the cottage which has a formal area close to the house partly enclosed by an ivy hedge. Further afield the garden becomes less formal and a wander around gave us the chance to look at its pond, willow and dogwood collections, a perry pear orchard and a vegetable garden enclosed with trained fruit trees.

The area around the house featured many flowering bulbs and in the spring and summer alpines would take over. A colourful Acer griseum stood with two variegated Hollies in a circular bed surrounded by a gravel pathway.

   

The pruned features we discovered as we parked up included a pleached limes, box balls and all were neatly presented.

  

An amazing selection of ivies made up the ivy hedge which surround two sides of the formal garden around the cottage. It was a beautiful, unusual feature to welcome visitors.

 

The huge work shed had a unique humorous tough, buttresses created by training and pruning yew trees. Close by stood this beautiful white barked birch tree.

 

As we walked away from the pleached limes and box ball topiary, we wandered through the wide selection of rare and unusual snowdrops. Beyond this border was a trellis-like “fedge”, a living hedge made from willow.

 

Shrubs with coloured stems and trees with coloured bark are strong features of the winter garden, and Ivycroft had some fine examples of both. Coloured stems were provided by Salix and Cornus, whereas the coloured bark appeared on Betulas and Prunus.

       

Little details reward those who take a closer look, a catkin, a flower or an old seed pod.

      

As mentioned earlier Snowdrops were a special feature of the gardens at Ivy Croft, but we also enjoyed cyclamen, miniature daffodils and hellebores. Colours shone from shrubs too, Hamamelis, Daphne mezereum and Hedera helix in its shrubby form.

       

We certainly had plenty to enjoy at Ivy Croft and it had changed so much since our last visit over 10 years ago. We will certainly be visiting once again when it opens again for a day in the spring.

 

 

 

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Anglesey Woodland in mid-May

During our family holiday on Anglesey in the middle of May we spent a few days discovering ancient pre-historic sites on the island. The walk to a fortified hut group took us through this beautiful patch of woodland growing happily on a gentle slope. I hope you enjoy the photos I took.

       

The beautiful light worked as a spotlight to help intensify the colour of the flowers and the bright greens of the many ferns.

 

What a spectacular little patch of woodland, a real treat to walk through and enjoy the trees and the flowers growing beneath them.

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Garden Revisiting Part One – The Garden in a Cider Orchard

We are so lucky to have so many great gardens that we can visit in a day from home. I thought a week of posts all about revisiting gardens would prepare us well for the warmer weather and get our creative gardening juices flowing again.

There are many in our home county Shropshire itself and we have easy access to Herefordshire and Powys where there are even more. Several of our favourite gardens we like to visit every year or so, so that we can see how they develop over time and change with the seasons. In this occasional series we shall do just that. I shall be featuring those gardens that we like to keep going back to.

For the first of these we travel down the trunk road southwards, the A49 which will take us through South Shropshire and into the Herefordshire border. It is just a few hundren yards from this road that we find the gardens of Stockton Bury which are described as the “Gardens in the Orchard”. The garden was born in 1900 and has never stopped developing. The present gardener, Raymond Treasure has developed it into rich tapestry of unusual trees, perennials and even a few follies, all wrapped around the old farm buildings.

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It is a garden with a surprise around every corner, and however many times you visit this still happens. A living garden!

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The mixed borders are rich in perennial plants that the wildlife enjoy.

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At any turn in the path you can find a surprise, brightly coloured planting, secret rooms, unusual plants you can’t name,

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Please enjoy this special place by browsing through my gallery of photos. There are probably too many but Stockton Bury is such a photogenic location it becomes hard to edit your shots.

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Our return visit to Stockton Bury was as special as the first we ever made, full of special plants, secrets and surprises and touches of humour.

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Are you sitting comfortably? No 14 in an occasional series.

Back for the 14th time for another selection of garden seating for you to enjoy, to look at and imagine the comfort or lack of it! The first photo is of a new pair of seats from our own garden situated in a new border called “Arabella’s Garden”.

The following set of four photos were shot in the beautiful village garden of our friend Von, although we doubt she has much time to use her seats. Von gardens in the countryside to the East of Shrewsbury where she has amazing countryside views.

Another village garden but this time a much larger affair is Cruckfield House south of Shrewsbury, and this garden to has a selection of seats to enjoy.

So there we have it a selection of garden seats from two very different sized village gardens. We shall be back before too long with another set of garden seats, the 15th set, for you to enjoy.

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A little village garden – Von’s garden.

We have lots of gardening friends with gardens of all types and sizes and in all sorts of locations. One of our most enjoyable garden related activities is to visit a garden belonging to a friend. On a wet dull day in mid-June we visited the village garden of friend Yvonne, more often called Von. It is a garden with a beautiful view across the Shropshire countryside and a garden that happily sits in its environment.

I hope you enjoy my photographs taken in poor light and drizzling rain but the plants shone through. A gravel path leads us alongside a delicately planted border with softly curved shapes. The spires of tall-growing foxgloves and delphiniums shine through the gloom matching the colours of geraniums that soften the path edges.

  

Centrally placed in the garden is a softly shaped pool surrounded by beautiful planting.

 

There are well-placed seats throughout the garden each with special views including some that look out of the garden across the surrounding countryside.

 

These seats are situated on a gravel patch which boasts a large boulder with a smaller partner, a terracotta pot housing a saxifrage alongside an alpine sink.

 

Von loves plants so much that every vertical surface is covered with plants, ceanothus, honeysuckle and ivy.

 

Reaching the bottom of the garden there is a native hedge decorated with soft pink dog roses. Looking back up towards the house we get a different view of the garden and notice a very productive veg patch with neat raised beds.

  

As with any garden the stars are the plants and here there are many of interesting specimen deserving of more than a glance.

  

  

Wildlife enjoys this garden too. While taking a shot of this white and purple-spotted foxglove a bee arrived and set about exploring each little glove. A great finish to our visit, which will definitely not be the last.

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Whites in a May hedge.

I love the frothiness of a May hedge when Hawthorn comes into flower, providing explosions of white blossom, while in front the white of Cow Parsley is a matching partner to it. The white of the Cow Parsley has a hint of green to it and it has open umbels of flowers atop wiry stems. A third white flowers joins them but looks less significant, the Greater Stitchwort, a neat little plant covered in white starlike blooms.

I want to share my set of photos with you, all taken within a few minutes on a short 10 metres stretch of lane.

          

While photographing the hedgerow plants, we noticed this old hedgeline with a few old Hawthorns remaining still flowering profusely alongside the ruins of farm buildings.

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